New network part of 5G technology
Today is an important milestone for Vodafone in its development of 5G. The telecom company put the final touch this week to an LTE-M network with national coverage. LTE-M stands for long term evolution for machines, a technique that efficiently connects devices with the internet. Last month, LTE-M technology was declared a fundamental part of 5G technology by GSMA.
John van Vianen, Director Business Market at VodafoneZiggo says: “Worldwide, Vodafone enables more than 65 million connections between devices, with one million connections added to that number every two weeks. With LTE-M Vodafone expands its IoT portfolio for customers, which makes the telecom company the first to offer the most complete radio network for Internet of Things services. For Vodafone it is another major step in the development of 5G, which further enhances the speed and reliability of the network. It shows that we keep investing in the ‘next generation network’.”
With the launch of the new network business customers can get started with smart solutions. With LTE-M, devices that are connected with the internet use a lot less battery capacity than with normal 2G/3G/4G connections. For the record, Vodafone already has a NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network with national coverage.
LTE-M vs NB-IoT
LTE-M and NB-IoT technology are both capable of connecting devices with the internet, but are used for different purposes. Since energy consumption by NB-IoT is extremely low, this technology is suitable for e.g. waterworks, farmland or other areas where it is difficult to change batteries. LTE-M technology has a greater bandwidth compared to NB-IoT and also supports voice (VoLTE). This is relevant for solutions that require voice, like barriers or elevators. This technology is also suitable in the field of mobility, since moving objects can easily be followed and stay seamlessly connected.
Smart city bikes
Conneqtech, a company specialized in connecting devices, is testing low-energy LTE-M solutions for city bikes, together with Vodafone. In this way, an owner can easily track his bike and secure it. In cooperation with Axa, Conneqtech is already using the Vodafone network for the smart locks it provides to Sparta's e-bike, but the energy for the locks comes from the e-bike’s battery. With LTE-M technology that is no longer necessary.